Suzumiya Haruhi no Tsumeawase – still on the charts after 100 weeks

Tip of the hat to Anime News Network for digging up this piece of information.

One hundred weeks after its original release, the Suzumiya Haruhi no Tsumeawase CD (above, with slipcase) entered the record books by staying on Japan’s weekly Oricon top 200 singles chart longer than any other seiyuu-performed single.

According to ANN, the single – which peaked at #5 on the same chart – actually rose in the latest rankings, going up a few notches from #185 to #167.


The back of the slipcase (above). The US version of this CD (which was packaged with one of the special-edition volumes in the R1 release of SHnY) sports a cover that’s nearly identical to the one in the first picture above, but it did not have a slipcase.

I haven’t been able to verify this information (mainly because the free-access chart on Oricon‘s website stops at #50), but it’s certainly plausible, and there’s enough evidence elsewhere to show that the CD continues to sell well in Japan. For example, as of 9:35 PM local time on 19 July 2008, Suzumiya Haruhi no Tsumeawase was ranked #152 in terms of sales within the music category on Amazon.co.jp – a very respectable showing indeed.


The CD insert, folded out (above). The lyrics to ‘God knows…’ and ‘Lost my music’ are on the upper section. The lyrics to ‘Koi no Mikuru Densetsu’ are on the lower part, superimposed on a promotional poster for ‘Asahina Mikuru no Bouken’ (the ‘movie’ in broadcast-order Episode 1 of the series).

In any case, it’s hardly surprising that the CD has done so well in the two years since it first hit store shelves. Hardcore “gotta buy ’em all!” Haruhiists deserve most of the credit (or the blame, however one wishes to look at it), but I’d imagine a few welcome strangers also had a hand in keeping this single firmly glued to the charts. True, most anime tie-ins are geared towards pleasing an existing fan-base, which naturally limits the available market for such goods. Suzumiya Haruhi no Tsumeawase is no exception in that it’s clearly designed for fans, but what makes the CD stand out in the sea of products related to the SHnY franchise is that the first two songs (God knows… and Lost my music) have meta-Haruhiist appeal. Neither of them has the makings of a true mainstream hit, yet their lyrics, overall style and other characteristics (none of which require familiarity with the series in order to be appreciated) make them harmless J-pop fare at worst and great iPod fillers at best. Contrast them with the fan fodder in “character albums” and the like that are little more than head-scratchers for the average Joe Public, with their in-jokes and highly specific otaku references – and, in the case of some SHnY character songs, direct quotes from the series that will probably sound meaningless to anyone outside the viewers’ circle.


The other side of the CD insert, folded out (above).

Of course, it’s only logical to assume that most of the 136,000 copies sold to date were snapped up by Haruhiists. I’m not suggesting otherwise. The packaging, for one, is guaranteed to reel in fans but may actually act as a repellent for anyone else. Nevertheless, the cross-border, non-otaku-specific appeal of the songs in the CD must have persuaded at least a few non-fans to part with their money, thus contributing to the product’s sustained success long after the original series had run its course.

And while we’re on the subject of music, let’s treat our ears to this sublime piece from the peerless mind of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

Now THAT’s music. They really don’t make it like this anymore.

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2 Responses

  1. Very impressive for an anime single, and good insight into the matter. Maybe it’s still on the charts because Japan is cracking down on file sharing programs, forcing people to play it safe and buy the CD.

  2. @Yamcha: I agree, although I’m guessing the crackdown’s impact on sales was probably limited. It’s easy enough to swap bootleg copies without resorting to file-sharing programs, or even the internet: portable memory drives, CD-Rs, ripping multiple copies of a single original CD, etc. No amount of threats or persuasion will convince those who use such methods to pay for their music since they think – and rightly so – that it’s virtually impossible for the authorities to pin them down.

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